You know when a car is nearing the end of its life; the special editions seem to appear on a weekly basis and minor upgrades are offered to ensure the parts bin is empty when production of a replacement is underway.
The Honda Civic is one such car; production of the current model will end at Swindon in the next 12 months and be replaced with a new model to be presented before 2011 is out.
What's it like?
What we have here is the final round of upgrades for the current standard Civic range. Our Si model came equipped with the familiar 138bhp 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine mated to a six-speed manual ‘box and a range of cosmetic upgrades to keep the Civic’s futuristic styling looking fresh six years on.
It’s new front grille is taken from the Type R model now departed from UK price lists (it’s high-revving 2.0-litre VETC engine fell foul of EU5 emissions regulations) and it also sports new 17-inch alloys and seats upholstered in half leather and Alcantara.
We’ll leave you to judge the Civic’s subtly tweaked looks, but on the dynamic front it’s obvious the Civic is now feeling its age. The engine, although quiet and refined, lacks grunt compared to more modern powerplants from rivals Volkswagen and Ford, while the ride quality is hit and miss. It’s fine on smoother motorways and A-roads, but has a habit to crash and fidget on more broken city surfaces, not helped by those admittedly handsome alloys.
The age is felt inside, too; although the feeling of solidity and the excellent build quality remain, the design of the centre console feels dated and the look and feel of the switchgear is way off class best.
Should I buy one?
This Civic will tempt some with its spacious interior, looks and familiarity and is still a decent all-round package. But in this highly-competitive segment where decent is such a long way from class best, a replacement Civic can’t come soon enough.
Honda Civic 1.8 Si
Price: £18,270; Top speed: 127mph; 0-62mph: 8.9sec; Economy: 42.2mpg; CO2: 155g/km; Kerb weight: 1321kg; Engine: four-cylinder, 1799cc, petrol; Power: 138bhp at 6300rpm; Torque: 128lb ft at 4300rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual